Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2018

Raikkonen’s radio messages reveal disagreement over rear wing damage

2018 Belgian Grand Prix

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Kimi Raikkonen’s radio messages from the Belgian Grand Prix reveal how he repeatedly urged Ferrari to check his rear wing despite being sent onto the track twice after it was damaged.

The Ferrari driver was hit from behind by Daniel Ricciardo at the start of the race which punctured his right-rear tyre and broke part of his floor and endplate.

Raikkonen’s car was first checked by Ferrari when he pitted to have the tyre replaced at the end of lap one. The radio communications show how the team reassured him the damage to his rear wing was not structural.

Leaving Raikkonen in the Safety Car queue allowed him to restart the race in front of Valtteri Bottas’s Mercedes and Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull. However Bottas passed Raikkonen before they reached Eau Rouge as it became clear the Ferrari driver’s problem was worse than feared.

Raikkonen told the team he struggled to keep his car on the track at Eau Rouge and he pitted again at the end of the lap. After another inspection Ferrari urged him to rejoin the track.

Shortly afterwards Raikkonen noticed his DRS wasn’t closing properly on the straight. This finally prompted the team to retire his car.

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Raikkonen:I have a puncture, somebody hit me from the rear.
To Raikkonen:Copy
Raikkonen:My endplate is also broken, looks like somebody hit me here.
To Raikkonen:Understood.
Raikkonen:Everything is fucking breaking down, with the tyre flap.
To Raikkonen:SOC [state of charge] 5, Kimi, SOC 5.
Raikkonen:Don’t know how bad the damage is but send me out and we’ll sort it out.
To Raikkonen:Yeah for sure.
Raikkonen:OK we have the endplate is bending back inside when the speed comes up so how bad was it? Because, it is going to come off very soon or if it was just the end part?
To Raikkonen:OK [unclear].
Raikkonen:OK I can see from the mirrors it’s hanging.
To Raikkonen:And slow button on, Kimi, slow button on. OK Kimi so we are checking also on the data and the video, for the moment we say out.
Raikkonen:OK but I can stop and we don’t lose position, you can check it. I come in and you check it better.
To Raikkonen:No Kimi we don’t need Kimi.
Raikkonen:OK if you can somehow, I don’t know if I have a rearwards camera on my car but you can see what happens when I go, it’s bending completely sideways inwards, inboards, the endplate, when I’m spinning up.
To Raikkonen:Yep it’s clear we are checking on the pictures.
To Raikkonen:Basically the structural parts are the pillars so what we are checking are the pillars, the endplate is not structural so we are…
Raikkonen:OK, OK.
To Raikkonen:So this is the situation Kimi. Where you have the damage is not structural. The structural part looks OK. What… we see that we are losing downforce but we are not concerned about the structural situation of the wing.
Raikkonen:OK, how much are we losing? To give me an idea whether to be careful or not.
Raikkonen:The car doesn’t go straight even on the straight line.
To Raikkonen:Understood.
Raikkonen:I have no grip from the tyres. Really struggled to go through Eau Rouge, stay on the circuit.
To Raikkonen:Understood.
Raikkonen:I don’t know, did you drop the rear wing or not? I have zero rear.
Raikkonen:Yeah it’s impossible to drive.
To Raikkonen:If you want we can try to box and we drop the front wing.
Raikkonen:Yeah something I can’t go anywhere like this.
To Raikkonen:Box Kimi, box.
Raikkonen:Raikkonen pits
You got the tyres also or something that has grip? It’s…
To Raikkonen:No Kimi, we go, we go. Go, go, go, go, go!
Raikkonen:Raikkonen returns to the track
But my DRS is open on the straight. Even I don’t push it, no wonder I have zero rear end. It’s all the time open.
To Raikkonen:OK Kimi, we retire. Slow button on. And box, Kimi, box.

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2018 F1 season

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Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2018
Raikkonen eventually retired due to his rear wing damage

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Keith Collantine
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63 comments on “Raikkonen’s radio messages reveal disagreement over rear wing damage”

  1. I miss these transcripts! They were my one of my favourite elements of this site. Especially the Kimi to English translations! :)

    1. Me too! Is there a reason why they aren’t published on the site anymore?

      1. Not sure, keith didn’t answer, at least on articles where I gave a look. Another user said it was probably taking away too much time to gather all team radios; I liked them too!

    2. yah me too miss the radio transcripts.

  2. it’s raidillon actually

    One of the things that amazes me about Kimi nowadays is the amount of precise and accurate feedback he manages to give from his point of view, not only on the car behaviour but also what might be wrong with it and what might be broken. All this from those tiny shaking mirrors and general feeling of the car. I guess this is result of his experience, but I find it to be amazing nonetheless.

    1. I was gonna say the same about his level of detailed feedback. He knows more from his mirror than the entire team! No wonder they keep resigning him.

      1. He knows more from his mirror than the entire team! No wonder they keep resigning him.

        + 1000

    2. That was my impression as well when reading the article. I’m impressed by how much thought he put into his radio messages while wrestling a car that didn’t want to race and threatened to crash out any moment. I was expecting something more along the lines of ‘it’s broken, undrivable, fix it!’, not a detailled account on what part bends in what direction under what circumstances, whether he thinks it’s structural or not, as well as giving advice on how to properly diagnose the problem.
      Truly impressive stuff.

    3. Kimi has always been known for this right from his Mclaren days, engineers he has worked with all say the same that all drivers give feedback, but Kimi’s is concise and well detailed.

      1. no wonder there were rumours that McLaren were chasing him, he suits exactly the type of profile that they need to improve that car. I think, it is fair to say unfortunately, that in regards to speed he has passed his prime, but his level of knowledge is outstanding

        1. @johnmilk – what? Are you saying that “GP2 rear wing” isn’t concise feedback? :-P

          1. that one deserves a freddo @phylyp

        2. Ahah, indeed, their car is so bad they need raikkonen to try and improve it!

    4. In contrast, the engineer on the radio with him speaks broken English and many times doesn’t seem to think logically. Often it’s hard to tell if the engineer is saying something correct using confusing phrases or if he is not even sure what he is telling Kimi.

      And this is not just Spa, but the whole season and probably previous seasons too. It seems a very frustrating situation for Kimi, I suppose they understand each other in the garage and in post session meetings, otherwise it would be nearly impossible to run the car.

      Anyway, I admire Kimi’s high quality feedback and sometimes patience. I find it unlikely but it would be nice if he could win one more race before retirement.

      1. the water bottle situation comes to mind now that you say it.

        He just wanted to know if he would carry all the weight during the race or if the bottle was emptying regardless of him not having the tube connected, somehow he never got the answer for that question

      2. Yes, I’d like it too if he could win another race before retirement, but it has to be a track where red bull won’t be competitive, so no singapore, suzuka or mexico, and somehow vettel and hamilton have to be out of place, say one crashes with someone and retires and the other one has a grid penalty for replacing some parts and starts from the bottom, then it’s raikkonen vs bottas and this year he might as well win the comparison.

    5. I was amazed Ferrari let him carry on. It was quite clear from the TV pictures that the supporting structure was massively damaged and so I thought it was quite unsafe to let him race like that as the forces would surely have ended up ripping the wing off! It now seems Kimi was also worried about that but Ferrari seem to have not wanted to check it properly.

  3. Not so much disagreement I think more of a language barrier thing.

  4. Kimi was been with that team for quite sometime and even after that if the engineer has problems understanding such crystal clear feedback then that engineer needs to burn his degrees and basically dig himself a grave. It was really dangerous leaving that car on track wotb broken drs and the team was suggesting him even stay out longer is pathetic.

  5. Italian engineers and Kimi are not a good combination. If he stays for 2019 they should try to re-hire Chris Dyer, as he was Kimi’s race-engineer during his first stint at Ferrari.

    1. @srga91 Isn’t Chris Dyer the one who was sacked after Ferrari’s blunder in Abu Dhabi 2010? I have never heard of him since. Do you know what he has been up to these past few years?

      1. He works for Renault currently.

        And yes he was the one making that call back in 2010

        1. @johnmilk
          Damn you! Who gives you the right answering my questions ;)

          1. another reason to have an edit button!

        2. But the F1 team @johnmilk?

          1. @toiago yes, we went away from F1 after Ferrari, I think for some touring series, but not sure, and Renault hired him I believe a couple of years ago, but he has more of a factory role instead of circuit operations

      2. @toiago Abu Dhabi was not a wrong call IMHO, it’s just unfortunate Alonso couldn’t get through Petrov

        It seems stupid to sack a competent person for one mistake

        1. @paeschli It was a wrong call. Ferrari thought that the tyres were already beginning to lose huge performance, which is why they pitted Alonso, but it turned out to be a graining phase, which then cleared and the likes of Vettel, Hamilton and Button could go quicker again. They also believed for the reasons stated above that Petrov and co. would be 2-stopping.

          1. @mashiat I do remember this part:

            They also believed for the reasons stated above that Petrov and co. would be 2-stopping.

            It really was a tricky situation, because if Webber had stopped and got past Petrov then who knows what could’ve happened. Maybe he would have went on to win the race and the championship. So yeah, I guess I agree with you @paeschli, maybe he souldn’t have been fired straight away. But lest we not forget that those were different times, with di Montezemolo at the helm of the Scuderia post Schumacher/Brawn/Todt.

        2. It was a wrong call.

          still i agree it was stupid to sack him, but it was a silly mistake and one that could be seen from the TV.

          1. Mercedes have done worse recently if I’m honest. Albeit their significance is deluded by the time they happen in the season

      3. They were covering Weber If I’m not mistaken,
        It’s not Dyer’s fault Alonso couldn’t pass a Renault,

        1. Don’t be ignorant, Alonso had to do more than overtake Petrov to win the title, everyone had problems overtaking that year, even Hamilton with Kubica.

        2. I agree completely with you, it was the right call the main contender who was closer to Alonso by 8 points (Webber) while Sebastian was behind by 15 points!! They saw Webber pitting and they copied the strategy to prevent the leap frog.. it’s formula 101… In post race interview for Spanish press Alonso said, -he was the main rival so we responded to their strategy, the problem was that Petrov had already pitted for the hard tires and went to the end, he was defending hard and aggressively, he also had a good top speed”

        3. @greg-c

          It wasn’t Alonso’s fault he was asked to come in and cover Webber.
          Or his fault he came out stuck behind Petrov. Teams try to avoid this in case you hadn’t noticed.

  6. Why didn’t they try replacing the rear wing?

    1. @carbon_fibre – why don’t you tell us, given your username is what wings are made of? :-P

      Poor attempts at humour aside, that’s a good question, because that’s exactly what RBR did with Ricciardo. Sadly, I think it’s due to the RBR pitwall & garage’s ability to think and pivot on a dime (2016 Monaco being a rare exception), and that’s not something Ferrari have usually excelled at.

      1. @phylyp Well, it did turn out to be a waste of time for DR didn’t it?

        1. At least they tried!

        2. @mashiat – from what I recall from Horner’s comments, they retired him as they kept lap 30 as their cutoff point for a potential safety car (since that would have unlapped Daniel, and still allowed him enough laps to come into a point-scoring position). Once that cutoff was hit, they retired him to save the engine’s mileage, and they anyway had enough damage on the car to give that as a reason to the stewards/scrutineers (if challenged).

      2. The rear wing is pretty complex part because it has moving parts and electrical or hydraulic connections. I don’t what kind of system they use nowadays but when drs came there were eletric and hydraulic solutions. The hydraulic one has hydraulic lines going to the gearbox whereas the electric just electric wires going to the car electronic systems. And other bits of wires for sensors the f1 cars have on the rear wing.

        To change the rear wing you’d need special connectors for all those things. That adds weight and also in case of accidents those connectors could break anyway. Just like the rear wing itself would become little heavier if it was quickly changeable because you need to replace stuff like glue or bolts with some kind of mechanism that can be opened and closed (like modern nosecones are little heavier because they are changeable). When the rear wing is damaged all those connections are potentially damaged as well so even if you could change the rear wing you probably could not.

        Also I’m sure f1 teams have done the math here. Rear wing damage that is survivable (still worth continue racing) is probably so rare that added weight only has a net negative overall.

        1. @socksolid – Those are all very sensible points. However, I’m not sure if you missed the race, but they actually did replace the rear wing for Ricciardo after he was hit from behind. The RBR crew wheeled him into the garage, replaced the wing, and sent him out (although he was some laps down by the time he rejoined). It wasn’t as seamless as changing the front wing, but they did achieve it in a reasonable amount of time.

          1. I think the problem was that they sent Kimi out and by the time they realised it needed changing it was too late. Plus RBR gambled on a safety car and that’s why they sent Ric out again, something that Ferrari might have thought it wasn’t worth it as Kimi had on top of it significant floor damage

          2. Not sure if you remember, but at the ferrari schumacher era, barrichello right here in spa had some rear wing damage and ferrari managed to replace it in time during SC to not make him get lapped!

            He ended up being 3rd, not sure if schumacher won or the exact year, but much better than red bull, and if they could’ve done it the other day ricciardo would’ve ended up 5th if not even 4th, he was constantly right behind bottas.

  7. With all the talking about Kimi’s expirience and all , I have a feeling he is the one he sets up the car for each an every racein 2018, Vettel doing a lot of homework on Saturday night studying data off his performance … Almost every P1, P2, P3 , Q1,Q2 in 2018 are where Kimi shines and beats Vettel, and somehow Vettel capitalises in Q3. I am by no means disrespecting Vettel – he does some great races, overtaking and all, but the setup is where it all matters, and Kimi seems to offer that for ‘free’ . It is ever so sad that he cannot or is not allowed to ouperform his team mate, and even put on a different strategy just to be out of the way.

    1. If Rai is doing all that, and helps Vet deliver, while getting in range for a WCC, they would be more than stupid to replace Kimi with a new kid. My guess is that they work great, together, and it seems the longer the team is stable, the better their performances get

    2. @esploratore
      MSC’s Ferrari didnt have DRS on the rear wing,

  8. Kimi all chattering and his engineer barely saying a word. This is something to see. Is it a first?

  9. It looked like Kimi’s rear wing was toast right after Ricciardo hit it. The lower right rear strut was obviously damaged which certainly compromised the entire wing. No doubt the tire didn’t do it any good either, but the replays clearly showed damage right after being hit.

    1. None of the commentators mentioned this and Ferrari seemed oblivious to it at first. Kimi seemed to be the only one to understand what was going on. I don’t get how such a major problem was missed by so many people.

      1. It seemed to take a long time to get any replays of what happened to Kimi, probably due to the focus on the more spectacular crash, understandable. When it finally became clear it was Daniel who hit him and better replays of the incident were shown Brundle had already commented that damage from the tire coming apart was probably the issue. One replay in particular showed the wing not looking healthy at all and the tire was still on at that point.

        I guess even if Ferrari would have recognized the issue sooner, on the first stop, they would have still been in the same situation as RBR with Daniel having to try to replace the rear wing and losing laps.

        Still surprising how long it took for Ferrari to realize what Kimi was telling them.

      2. This photo from the official F1 site is quite revealing. Look at the wing strut damage. And the tire is pretty much still on. Not sure in the pits how they thought the wing was still ok.

        1. I agree it was poor analysis by the engineers – statically, the trailing edge damage probably had little effect on the wing strength but the deflections at higher speed are probably the cause of the DRS opening or remaining open.
          I don’t know how much he was backing off after they sent him back out but imagine tackling Eau Rouge in anything with no rear or even worse, variability … I’ve been a Rai critic for a couple of years but I can’t ever remember him being anything short of awesome at this track.

  10. This and the qualifying fuel fiasco this weekend and many,many,many examples from this and previous seasons just add up. It’s of course preposterous to suggest some inter team shenanigans are in action but by eliminating that as an option one must come to a conclusion that someone in Kimi’s “team” is highly incompetent for his/her position. Of course there will always be some mistakes yes but so many so often, someone is making incorrect decisions based on whatever their motivation is, and for Scuderia to achieve the WCC they’d be wise to weed them out.

    1. @uneedafinn2win

      I think it’s fairly obvious that Ferrari really don’t give a f about Kimi in general. They don’t care about his race strategy…. they rather use him as a pawn for Vettel. They don’t care about filling fuel in his car.. or checking the drinks bottle.. or checking the state of his rear wing.. or paying attention to what he’s actually saying.

      If Vettel got a fraction of the same treatment Kimi is receiving at Ferrari, he’s be throwing tantrums or would have walked out of the team already.

  11. Ah, the luck of Kimi! It it weren’t for McLaren tendency to disintegrate, he’ll surely have a couple more championships by now. And now I’m convinced someone at Ferrari is quite incompetent (because it’s blasphemy to think they’re against him finishing ahead of Vettel).

    1. What luck? Had he had not the bad pitstop, and the failure earlier this year and this DNF he would have been at par with Vettel in terms of ponts – not bad ,eh , simply due to consistency , even with bad or at least worse off strategy. Is Kimi allowed to strech his legs at all? He is right to say his Q3 performance needs to improve but it is the little things that make the difference – timing of going out, traffic , weather etc…. that make the difference. If you want conspiracy theory – here is one – he was deliberately left out of fuel :). He has been the mule and probably and sadly will be till the end of his carreer – and there would be nothing wrong if Vettel was underperforming, for the last year and a half.

  12. What of Mercedes flexing wing at spa? Or is it not news worthy. 🤔

    1. If it was worth investigating, the FIA would be on it already. Just sounded like Arrivebene was retaliating with a claim against Mercedes after Ferrari have constantly been accused of cheating.

  13. @johnmilk)

    One of the things that amazes me about Kimi nowadays is the amount of precise and accurate feedback he manages to give from his point of view, not only on the car behaviour but also what might be wrong with it and what might be broken.


    Kimi seemed to be the only one to understand what was going on. I don’t get how such a major problem was missed by so many people.


    Still surprising how long it took for Ferrari to realize what Kimi was telling them.

    For all the Kimi worship going on here, he didn’t notice until later it was the DRS stuck open. He was the one asking to check the end plates because he could see them bending yet Ferrari wernt concerned with the end plates ‘because they wernt structural’ .
    Kimi was unware if they ‘dropped the rear wing’, unaware where the cameras are on his car. He also agreed to drop the front wing because he had ‘zero’ on the rear. This isn’t “precise and accurate” at all or bad analysis by the mechanics. Just another unfortunate situation for team and driver.

  14. @ Joseph ….. What?
    Read his radio messages again. He asked if they “dropped the rear”, if they took downforce out the rear wing on the stop as he felt the loss of downforce, he was looking at end plate as it was obvious damage, DRS might not have been clear at that moment. Then the team asked to “drop the front” which could mean, take downforce out the front to take front grip away and send more grip to back to try and balance car, which Kimi agreed. He asked for an estimate on downforce lost at the rear to adjust his driving to match, then he notices DRS is broken, which answers his downforce question. I dont know how you can say is just worship. Give the guy some credit.

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